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Centre trying to push through NEET, make MCI all powerful

In a desperate bid to establish academic control over all states, the Centre is trying to pass a bill whereby the Medical Council of India (MCI) will be given the power to control medical entrance examinations conducted by the states.

The Centre is pushing to rename and reintroduce the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) as the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission of undergraduate and post graduate medical students.

NEET was a common medical entrance examination introduced by the UPA government in 2013, but several petitions were soon filed against its implementation in the Supreme Court. In its verdict on July 18 2013, the Apex court later squashed the applicability of NEET and declared it unconstitutional as it was against article 19, 25,26,29,30, 370, 371D of the Indian Constitution.

The Centre had recently filed a petition before the SC to review its decision. The SC has sought the opinion of the petitioners who opposed NEET, including that of Dr Maity Educational and Medical Research Institute, a Kolkata based institution, by 10 March who moved to the court against the Centre’s decision to introduce the NEET.

Dr AK Maity, the director of the Institute, has written to the Prime Minister and also to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking their intervention in this regard. Dr Maity said that if a common entrance test like NEET is implemented throughout the country, it will hurt the interest of regional students in the states. The present system of conducting state level joint entrance examinations will be replaced by the CET which will be controlled by the Centre-owned examination board.

“My appeal before the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of West Bengal is to consider the gravity of the matter and restrain the Centre’s move to reintroduce CET/NEET and abide by the SC ruling for the benefits of the majority of the students in the country,” Dr Maity said.

The 2013 NEET was conducted by the CBSE in six regional languages - Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu and Assamese - in addition to Hindi and English. The candidates opting for regional languages were only allowed to appear in 85% quota seats for their own state. As a result of this, meritorious students having regional languages, scoring more marks than a Hindi/English medium student in the common entrance test, were not eligible for admission under the 15% all India quota seats in government medical colleges and 30,000 medical seats in all private medical colleges in the country. The SC had observed that students should be admitted on the basis of merit in any given category.

There are 412 medical colleges, both government and private, in the country with around 52,225 MBBS seats. Once CET comes into existence the states will have no entrance exam of their own.
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